Snorre Smari Mathiesen | Norway | 06/29/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is very cheap, it costs only a little more than a dollar on Amazon Prime, but although it may seem tempting to buy it because of the prize, I am not sure if it really is worth it. The movies are not bad, but definitively nothing to put together on one single DVD. They would have worked as special features on another DVD or in a big movie pack filled with many other films, but, unfortuantely, not as its own DVD.
ALL-STAR EXTRAVAGANZA includes three early talkie shorts, the first one being LA CUCARACHA, a short-musical from 1934. It was an Oscar-winner back then, but today I would recommend it for historical interest -- it is one of the first color films ever made. As a comedy, however, I can't recommend it to anyone except to you who appreciate old musicals -- and inasmuch as I don't, I didn't like it very much.
The next one is THE STOLEN JOOLS from 1931. This is usually referred to as a Laurel and Hardy-short, but it isn't. It is more likely a parade filled with little clips from the early talkies of Our Gang, Buster Keaton, and --of course-- Laurel and Hardy. It has its moments, but I did never laugh hard while I watched it.
The third one is Mack Sennett's GHOST PARADE, also made during the early Depression. I am deeply thankful to Mack's development of motion pictures and that he was the first to hire several of the greatest silent comedians, such as Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle, but I have to admit that his techniques worked better in 1913 than twenty years later. I didn't laugh much here, either.
The FATTY ARBUCKLE FESTIVAL includes four early Keystone-shorts, three of them starring Roscoe Arbuckle (the fourth one, THE SPEED KINGS, starring Ford Sterling, Roscoe Arbuckle has a smaller part).
The first one, FATTY JOINS THE FORCE from 1913, is charming, but Arbuckle could do better and this short is also included in the highly recommended DVD-box THE FORGOTTEN FILMS OF ROSCOE "FATTY" ARBUCKLE with a better soundtrack, see it there instead. The second one, FATTY'S SPOONING DAYS from 1915, is quite disappointing, a typical Keystone-routine. The third, FATTY'S SUITLESS DAY (more well known as FATTY'S MAGIC PANTS) from 1914 is better, but still far from Arbuckle's best. THE SPEED KINGS is one of the earliest auto-race-films Keystone made --they would make many more only a few months later, such as KID AUTO RACES AT VENICE with Charlie Chaplin-- but honestly, this was quite boring.
I am a huge fan of silent films, but this collection was really not what I expected. To you who want to be familiar with silent comedies and early talkies, I recommend the DVD collections of Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and Arbuckle, instead of this cheap one-cent product."